LOCALS: Blue Star, Fusion surge ahead

Five weeks in and things are starting to fall into place in the Premier Development League's Southwest Division, and that's with one side yet to open its season.

Longtime powers Orange County Blue Star and Ventura County Fusion took big steps forward, both them shaking off slow starts to their seasons with a pair of impressive victories.

Blue Star (2-0-3) clobbered first-place Fresno Fuego, 3-1, in the Central Valley, rolling to a three-goal lead through two Andrew Riemer goals and another by Adrian Avila, then headed home to handle the Ogden Outlaws, also by a 3-1 tally. Nico Olsak scored and assisted goals in that one.

Orange County, one of two unbeaten teams in the Southwest Division, climbed within a point of the Fuego (5-1-1), who are in Florida for a U.S. Open Cup second-round match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers from the second-tier North American Soccer League. The other unbeaten: BYU Cougars, who open their season this weekend.

The Fusion (2-1-1), coming off a U.S. Open Cup victory over the NPSL's Fullerton Rangers (and in advance of Tuesday's Open Cup second-rounder against the L.A. Blues) posted shutouts over the Ogden Outlaws (2-0) and Pali Blues (3-0), both second-tier sides at best within the division.

Victor Chavez (Fontana/A.B. Miller and UCLA) scored in both games for the third-place Fusion. Francisco Lopez played a role in all three goals against Pali.

Elsewhere in minor-league soccer:

USL PRO: The L.A. Blues (3-2-1) are back in action this week, visiting defending champion Orlando City SC (6-0-1) on Thursday and third-place Charleston Battery (4-2-0) on Saturday following the Open Cup clash with the Fusion.

The Rochester Rhinos (6-0-1) finally gave up a goal in a 1-1 draw at home against the winless Dayton Dutch Lions (0-4-3). Gibson Bardsley, who also has Dayton's other goal this year, tallied in the 28th minute, ending the Rhinos' season-starting shutout streak at 567 minutes. Former Galaxy defender Quavas Kirk scored the equalizer for Rochester.

Ivorian forward Yann Ekra scored a hat trick for Harrisburg (2-1-3) in a 4-0 rout of Dayton the following night.

Hagop Chirishian (Hollywood/A.G.B.U. Manoogian-Demirdjian School and Pasadena City College) netted his first USL Pro goal to give Wilmington (2-2-3) a 1-1 draw with visiting Charlotte (2-6-2).

PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: The Southern California Seahorses (0-1-1) opened with a 0-0 draw at Pali Blues, then were beaten, 1-0, by newcomers FC Tucson, which played Fresno close and beat Pali in its first two games. The Seahorses play their home opener Wednesday night at Biola University against Orange County Blue Star.

NATIONAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: FC Santa Clarita (4-1-2) leapfrogged Fullerton Rangers for second place in the Western Division's Southern Conference by beating Real San Jose, 2-1, as Andres Bueno (Santa Clarita/Golden Valley HS and College of the Canyons) converted a stoppage-time penalty kick. Cal State Bakersfield's Wayne Lampart drew the foul.

Fullerton (4-2-1) let a two-goal lead slip away against the visiting Sonoma County Sol. Christian Alvarado (Anaheim/Anaheim HS and Loyola Marymount) and pro Leobardo Alvarez tallied for the Rangers.

Santa Clarita and Fullerton are primed to battle the rest of the way for the second conference's second playoff berth. First-place San Diego Flash (6-0-1) figures to claim the top spot again this year. Their lead in the division is now five points.

Sacramento Gold (5-2-0) have a six-point lead in the Northern Conference after rallying for a 3-2 win over San Diego Boca (2-3-2), with Oscar Sandoval and Manolo Piña burying free kicks to the upper-V in the final 12 minutes.

USL W-LEAGUE: Pali Blues are 2-0-0 after spoiling defending Western Conference regular-season champ Santa Clarita Blue Heat's opener in Valencia. Ann Marie Tangorra (Arcadia/Arcadia HS and Cal State L.A./Cal State Fullerton) and former WPS midfielder Nikki Washington scored the goals.

Blue Heat visit the L.A. Strikers on Sunday at Occidental College.

WOMEN'S PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: Long Beach's Beach Futbol Club debuted with a 2-0 triumph over Los Alamitos' L.A. Vikings in the Pacific Conference's South Division opener. Former WPS midfielder Kristina Larsen (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS and UCLA) scored both goals in the first three minutes of the second half.

Former USC star Rosie Tantillo scored in both games as the San Diego SeaLions beat Sacramento's California Storm and Fresno's Central California Heat. Neither game counts in the standings.

NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE: Amani Walker scored his third goal of the season and assisted two more -- one by fellow UC Irvine alum Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) -- as the Minnesota Stars (4-0-3) rallied for a 3-1 victory at Fort Lauderdale in the second division. Walker has four assists for the Stars, who are the NASL's lone unbeaten side and sit in second, two points behind the Puerto Rico Islanders (5-1-2).

The Islanders this week are playing in a second-stage group of the Caribbean Football Union's club championship, seeking their third straight CFU title and fifth successive trip to the CONCACAF Champions League. They opened three-team Group 4 with a 0-0 draw Monday against Trinidad & Tobago's Caledonia AIA and on Friday face host George Town, from the Cayman Islands. Two teams advance to the final round, joining USL Pro side Antigua Barracuda and T&T's W Connection, and the top three in that group head to the Champions League.




Last week's results (home teams listed first)


Harrisburg City Islanders 0, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0


Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1 (Smith 45), Richmond Kickers 1 (Delicate 71)

Rochester Rhinos 1 (Kirk 74), Dayton Dutch Lions 1 (Bardsley 28)


Harrisburg City Islanders 4 (Ekra 14, 16, 56, Langley 42), Dayton Dutch Lions 0

Wilmington Hammerheads 1 (Chirishian 75), Charlotte Eagles 1 (Roberts 57)


1. Orlando City SC (6-0-1) 19 points; 2. Rochester Rhinos (6-0-1) 19; 3. Charleston Battery (4-2-0) 12; 4. L.A. Blues (3-2-1) 10; 5. Wilmington Hammerheads (2-2-3) 9; 6. Harrisburg City Islanders (2-1-3) 9; 7. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2-5-2) 8; 8. Charlotte Eagles (2-6-2) 8; 9. Richmond Kickers (1-2-4) 7; 10. Antigua Barracuda (2-6-0) 6; 11. Dayton Dutch Lions (0-4-3) 3.

This week's games (all times Pacific)

Tuesday (U.S. Open Cup)

Ventura County Fusion (PDL) vs. L.A. Blues at Fullerton College, 5 p.m.

Cal FC (USASA) at Wilmington Hammerheads, 4 p.m.

Long Island Rough Riders (PDL) at Harrisburg City Islanders, 4 p.m.

Michigan Bucks (PDL) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 4 p.m.

Dayton Dutch Lions at Chicago Fire PDL (PDL), 4 p.m.

K.C. Athletics (USASA) at Orlando City SC, 4:30 p.m.

Reading United AC (PDL) at Charleston Battery, 4:30 p.m.

Richmond Kickers at Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks (USASA), 4:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) at Rochester Rhinos, 4:35 p.m.

Charlotte Eagles at El Paso Patriots (PDL), 7 p.m.


L.A. Blues at Orlando City SC, 4:30 p.m.


Richmond Kickers at Harrisburg City Islanders, 3 p.m.


Wilmington Hammerheads at Richmond Kickers, 4 p.m.

L.A. Blues at Charleston Battery, 4:30 p.m.

Rochester Rhinos at Dayton Dutch Lions, 4:30 p.m.

Charlotte Eagles at Orlando City SC, 4:30 p.m.




Southwest Division

Last week's results (home teams listed first)


Pali Blues 0, Southern Californian Seahorses 0


Ventura County Fusion 2 (Chavez 68, Chongo 90), Ogden Outlaws 0

Fresno Fuego 1 (Santiago 86), Orange County Blue Star 3 (Riemer 25, 61, Avila 51)


FC Tucson 1 (Toia 44), Southern California Seahorses 0


Ventura County Fusion 3 (R. Lopez 7, F. Lopez 29, Chavez 55), Pali Blues 0

Orange County Blue Star 3 (Ponce 9, Olsak 28, Cardenas pen. 90), Ogden Outlaws 1 (Garcia 47)


1. Fresno Fuego (3-1-1) 10 points; 2. Orange County Blue Star (2-0-3) 9; 3. Ventura County Fusion (2-1-1) 7; 4. FC Tucson (2-1-0) 6; 5. L.A. Misioneros (1-2-2), 5; 6. Pali Blues (0-2-2) 2; 7. Southern California Seahorses (0-1-1) 1; 8. BYU Cougars (0-0-0) 0; 9. Ogden Outlaws (0-2-0) 0.

This week's games

Tuesday (U.S. Open Cup)

Ventura County Fusion vs. L.A. Blues (USL Pro) at Fullerton College, 5 p.m.

Fresno Fuego at Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL), 4 p.m.


Orange County Blue Star vs. Southern California Seahorses at Biola University (La Mirada), 7 p.m.


Fresno Fuego at Ogden Outlaws, 5 p.m.

L.A. Misioneros at BYU Cougars, 8 p.m.


L.A. Misioneros at Ogden Outlaws, 5 p.m.

Fresno Fuego at BYU Cougars, 7 p.m.

Pali Blues at FC Tucson, 7 p.m.

Southern California Seahorses vs. Ventura County Fusion at Ventura College, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, May 29

Southern California Seahorses vs. Orange County Blue Star at Concordia University (Irvine), 5 p.m.



Last week's results (home teams listed first)


Fullerton Rangers 2 (Alvarado 25, Alvarez 29), Sonoma County Sol 2 (Middlemiss 70, Ferreira 88)

FC Santa Clarita Storm 2 (Quintero 45, Bueno pen. 91+), Real San Jose 1 (Koochoie 46)

Bay Area Ambassadors 1 (Hill 50), FC Hasental 0

North Coast Tsunami 0, San Diego Flash 2 (LoSarah 2, 19)

San Francisco Stompers at Phoenix Monsoon, ppd.


Sacramento Gold 3 (Piña 14, 84, Sandoval 79), San Diego Boca 2 (Ruvalcaba 33, Maderos 35)


Southern Conference: 1. San Diego Flash (6-0-1) 19 points; 2. FC Santa Clarita Storm (4-1-2) 14; 3. Fullerton Rangers (4-2-1) 13; 4. FC Hasental (3-3-1) 10; 5. San Diego Boca (2-3-2) 8; 6. Phoenix Monsoon (0-6-0) 0.

Northern Conference: 1. Sacramento Storm (5-2-0) 15; 2. Sonoma County Sol (3-2-2) 11; 3. Real San Jose (2-2-2) 8; 4. Bay Area Ambassadors (2-3-1) 7; 5. San Francisco Stompers (1-3-2) 5; 6. North Coast Tsunami (1-5-1) 4.

This week's games (all times Pacific)


Bay Area Ambassadors vs. FC Santa Clarita Storm at Hart HS (Newhall), 4 p.m.

FC Hasental at Sonoma County Sol, 7 p.m.

Fullerton Rangers at Real San Jose, 7 p.m.

San Diego Boca at San Francisco Stompers, 7 p.m.

North Coast Tsunami at Phoenix Monsoon, 7:05 p.m.


San Diego Flash at Sacramento Gold, 7 p.m.




Last week's results (home teams listed first)


Vancouver Whitecaps 0, Colorado Rush 1 (Evans 13)


Santa Clarita Blue Heat 0, Pali Blues 2 (Tangorra 36, Washington 51)

Victoria Highlanders 0, Colorado Rush 1 (Evans 34)


1. Pali Blues (2-0-0) 6 points; 2. Colorado Rush (2-0-0) 6; 3. Victoria Highlanders (1-1-0) 3; 4. Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders (0-0-0) 0; 6. Vancouver Whitecaps (0-2-0) 0; 7. Santa Clarita Blue Heat and L.A. Strikers (0-1-0), 0.

This week's games (all times Pacific)


Victoria Highlanders at Colorado Rush, 6:30 p.m.


Victoria Highlanders at Colorado Rapids, 3:30 p.m.


Seattle Sounders at Vancouver Whitecaps, 4 p.m.

Santa Clarita Blue Heat vs. L.A. Strikers at Occidental College (Eagle Rock), 6 p.m.



Last week's results (home teams listed first)


Beach FC 2 (Larsen 46, 48), L.A. Vikings 0


*California Storm 1 (McCoy 90), San Diego SeaLions 3 (Snook 26, Tantillo 51, Christopher 68)


*Central California Heat 0, San Diego SeaLions 4 (Petracca 12, Murphy 45, 88, Tantillo 66)

* Cross-divisional game, does not count in standings


South Division: 1. Beach FC (1-0-0) 3 points; 2. Ajax America and San Diego SeaLions (0-0-0) 0; 4. L.A. Vikings (0-1-0) 0.

North Division: 1. Bay Area Breeze, California Storm, Central California Heat, North Bay FC Wave, San Francisco Nighthawks and West Coast Wildkatz (0-0-0) 0

This week's games (all times Pacific)


Bay Area Breeze at California Storm, 7 p.m.


San Francisco Nighthawks at California Storm, 6 p.m.



(Games involving teams from local leagues)

First Round

Last week's results (home teams listed first)


Fullerton Rangers (NPSL) 2 (Arvizu 55, Roldan 68), Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 6 (Roman 17, F. Lopez 22, pen. 93, Chongo 98, Steres 108, R. Lopez 120), OT

Kitsap Pumas (PDL) 1 (Friesen 72), Cal FC (Thousand Oaks, USASA) 3 (Da. Barrera 44, 66, Aghasyan 86)

Portland Timbers U-23 (PDL) 1 (Miller 56), PSA Elite (Irvine, USASA) 3 (Paul 24, 89, Ramirez 39)

Stanislaus United Turlock Express (U.S. Club Soccer) 0, Fresno Fuego (PDL) 2 (Campos 47, 70)

Second Round

This week's games (all times Pacific)


Cal FC (Thousand Oaks, USASA) at Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro), 4 p.m.

PSA Elite (Irvine, USASA) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL), 4:07 p.m.

Fresno Fuego (PDL) at Fort Lauderdale Strikers (PDL), 4:30 p.m.

Ventura County Fusion (PDL) vs. L.A. Blues (USL Pro) at Fullerton College, 5 p.m.